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Sheriff Warns Dunedin: Significant Undercover Activity Underway

Sheriff's Bob Gualtieri warned residents during the Pinellas County Sheriff's first of many quarterly appearances at City Hall Jan. 24 that not everything going on in south Dunedin is as it seems.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri stood before Dunedin officials Jan. 24 and discussed what he knows to be on residents' minds.

What's being done about crime on Dunedin's south side?

He told residents not everything is as it seems and followed with a warning to think twice before breaking the law.

"The other thing that we’ve done ... is asked the residents to be patient with us," Gualtieri said. "Because there may be a lot of things going on, and some of the things you’re seeing, and some of the things they don’t see that I can tell you that we do have in the south part of the city now — and I’m not going to share much about it other than to say it's there — we do have significant undercover law enforcement activity going on.

"So those that are out there selling drugs and doing things they shouldn’t be doing, think about it, because the person that you’re involved with may be working on behalf of law enforcement or may be a law enforcement officer.

"That’s going on down there, and we do that in a lot of parts of the county, and we’re doing it here in Dunedin. People need to know there’s a lot going on beyond the obvious."

Gualtieri also said that a recently appointed community policing deputy is beginning to have a significant impact on eliminating crime in south Dunedin from the northern unincorporated Clearwater neighborhoods.

(Gualitieri was careful not to refer to the area as the "southside" out of respect for identity concerns residents brought up during a Nov. 13 Town Hall meeting.)

"The area south of Union Street, north of Sunset Point Road in that unincorporated area because I know the statistics and from the information that we received, is that area (crime) was having a bleed-over affect into south Dunedin in that area," he said. 

Gualtieri shared these statistics from south Dunedin between October and December 2012:

  • 60 percent decrease in residential burglaries
  • 60 percent decrease in number of batteries
  • 68 percent decrease in number of thefts
  • 42 percent increase in arrests (as a result of 10.5 percent increase directed patrols)
  • 42.9 percent decrease in crashes
  • 218 citations
  • 624 warnings issued

The sheriff's office is scheduled to appear again before the commission during the second meeting in April.

Gualtieri said he would personally try to be at all Dunedin's quarterly meetings.

A member of the now-defunct Lyndhurst Street Neighborhood Watch publicly lauded the Sheriff's Office for their support.

"They have done a fabulous job," Amy Poteet said. "They've really worked really hard and we've worked with them, kinda behind the scenes. And they've done a great job cleaning up our streets."

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Related Coverage:

  • Union Street Munchee's Armed Robbery Suspects At Large
  • 'Welcome to Dunedin' Signs for South Douglas Avenue?
  • Mayor Calls For Regular Reports from Sheriff's Office
  • Southside Crime: Residents Sound Off
  • Sheriff: 'No Magic Wand' for Southside Drug Activity
  • Residents Dissolve Lyndhurst Street Neighborhood Watch

[Last updated Moday, Jan. 28, 2013 at 11:51 a.m.]

Lori January 28, 2013 at 06:50 PM
Well...I do see more patrols...Lets hope....
Bob Jackson January 28, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Glad to hear , moved here not long ago unaware of the problems. Had I known would have not located in this area. Have had no problems (fingers crossed) hope to not have any. For the sheriffs dept, keep up the good work. I think we all know it won't all go away, but maybe it can be controlled.
CW January 29, 2013 at 01:45 AM
Curious of how hard this was for you Lori to make a semi positive comment.
sarah gardner January 29, 2013 at 01:58 AM
There seems to be a "pipline" down Douglas to North Greenwood area. The corner store "Circle A" also seems to be a "hang out". Please enlist more patrols.
Maggy Mae January 29, 2013 at 02:15 AM
Then PCSO should be making some arrests based on their "undercover work", right? And that should be publicized,too. Can't recall any major busts with multiple arrests and charges in the area that was publicly acknowledged lately. I see it in St. Pete and Pasco, though. Or now that the word may be out, dealers will be more careful maybe? Nope, there is no magic wand for any of it. And something else to think about is that some of those "addicts" may have started out with a minor pain that got treated with a prescription for a few hundred pain killers from a "doctor" who would never live in this area, but who nonetheless shares at least partial responsibility for the current conditions of probably every other person on the street having an addiction or knowing someone who does. But bravo to PCSO for stepping up and getting some info out. It might shake a few folks up a little bit at first, but the secrecy and withholding just causes more grumbling.
jim summers January 29, 2013 at 02:33 AM
And none of this changes the fact that big pharma is creating these problems in out society. Also, what kind of government arrests people for hard drugs while at the same time bring in a lot of cocaine and heroine through the CIA? A government that wants to control us. Glad to hear burglaries are down though. END THE FAILED WAR ON DRUGS! Spend as much money educating people on responsibility and the dangers involved in drug use instead of helping fuel the black market.
Maggy Mae January 29, 2013 at 01:17 PM
Really relevant information here from Richard Branson, the creator of Virgin Airlines and more. It's the bigger picture and why PCSO can't fix everything that's broken. http://www.recruitwithconviction.org.uk/index.php/2013/01/richard-branson-on-why-employers-should-recruit-with-conviction/ http://www.breakingthetaboo.info/
Adam Wilkes January 29, 2013 at 03:25 PM
FYI, two days ago, while driving south on Douglas. A car was stopped in the middle of the road just north of Orangewood. A man ran into the street, handed the driver of the car a baggie filled with what appeared to be some kind of white substance. The driver handed the man what appeared to be money in a small roll. This was at 1:15 in the afternoon, cars were driving past in both directions and I was 15 feet behind the stopped car not able to get around due to traffic coming. The tag of the Black older Toyota sedan was covered with a section of newspaper. Neither person seemed to care that any of us were present. Both men were white in their 30's Not meaning to be critical but no undercover cop was needed in this case just any cop would have done the trick!
Lori January 29, 2013 at 04:17 PM
YEP Adam...But lets not be negative CW doesnt like that!
Lori January 29, 2013 at 04:18 PM
So true MaggyMae
Cecilia January 30, 2013 at 12:50 AM
Did you dial 911? Just curious.
Maggy Mae January 30, 2013 at 01:01 AM
That wouldn't work either, as the deputy or officer would need to witness the crime to make an arrest. Although, you'd think if Adam appeared credible enough, they could use that as probable cause if they could find the car, which oh...had the tag obscured.
Adam Wilkes January 30, 2013 at 01:04 AM
No, Cecilia I called the non-emergency #
Adam Wilkes January 30, 2013 at 01:30 AM
Btw, they were very nice and helpful but without a tag it was a lost cause. There luck will run out soon with all the extra patrols.
deputy dog January 30, 2013 at 11:07 PM
WOOOOOSAAAHHHH!!! LORI WOOOOOSAHHHHH!!!
Margaret M Mankowski February 17, 2013 at 01:43 PM
I keep an eye on this thread but haven't heard much lately. I feel so badly that you can't get major help on the crime in your area. Main Street Dunedin is constantly receiving funds and attention for anything at all. I love Main Street but right behind your neighborhood falling to crime follows Main Street. Being from Chicago, this I know! Are you feeling any effects of the "undercover work"? Do you openly see any stepped up police activity? Is anything happening there at all?

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